Lauren’s story – diagnosed with Bilateral Slipped Upper Femoral Epiphysis (SUFE)

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Lauren was diagnosed with SUFEMy name is Lauren and  I am now 18. When I was 12 years old I was on holiday in Spain in August 2015 when I developed a pain in my right knee which quickly got so severe that I was struggling to even walk a few steps. My friends and family all thought the pain was just a badly pulled muscle in my knee, so when I returned home to Manchester we made an appointment to see my GP. The GP then assessed my knee and was very concerned so sent me straight to a physiotherapist for an assessment. The physiotherapist then sent me straight to an orthopaedic consultant in the hospital who did x-rays and diagnosed me with Bilateral Slipped Upper Femoral Epiphysis (SUFE). Due to the emergent nature, he sent me straight to Royal Manchester Children’s hospital for emergency surgery to pin both hips to stabilise them. I then stayed there for the following 2 weeks and at this time I was also told I had to stop playing football temporarily (or at least I thought).

When I was then discharged I was on crutches for around 6-8 weeks and did weekly physiotherapy and hydrotherapy for the next few months. I was doing well until 2017 when I began to experience pain again so I returned to the original consultant who decided the screws needed to come out as they were causing damage. The screws were removed on May 3rd 2018, following this I was on crutches for another 6 weeks and did physiotherapy and hydrotherapy until December when I had scans as the pain was still there. The scans showed hip impingement of my right hip, damage to the labrum due to the screw and very slight retroversion, I then had bilateral steroid injections in both hips in January 2019 to see me through my GCSE exams with less pain. I

n July 2019 I was booked in for an arthroscopy of my right hip but the operation was cancelled, so I had more injections. I was referred to Alder Hey children’s hospital to see another consultant as well as my current one to see if they could recommend any surgery that would help, however, there was no option they could offer that would be of benefit to me. I then had my arthroscopy in November 2019 where I stayed in the hospital for 3 days. Following surgery, I was on crutches for 4 weeks and did hydrotherapy and physio again but then had to stop due to Covid-19 restrictions. I was able to start physio again in August 2020 which I went to every 2 weeks until late December.

In January 2021 I saw my consultant after waiting a year due to Covid, I was hoping to be able to do football again after 6 years of not being able to however, he informed me that the risk of developing osteoarthritis in the future is increased already and football would make the chances of developing it higher. I continue to do daily physiotherapy exercises at home and monitor how my hips feel on a daily basis.

I am now in my final year of college studying health and social care and I am starting university in September 2021 to study paediatric nursing as my diagnosis has shown me how much of a difference nurses can make to children and their families.

Read more about SUFE here.